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WHO urges rich countries to pay up $16bn COVID-19 plan

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The World Health Organisation Wednesday urged rich countries to pay their fair share of the money needed for its plan to conquer Covid-19 by contributing $16 billion as a matter of urgency.

WHO said the rapid cash injection into its Access to Covid Tools Accelerator could finish off Covid as a global health emergency this year.

The WHO-led ACT-A is aimed at developing, producing, procuring and distributing tools to tackle the pandemic: vaccines, tests, treatments and personal protective equipment.

ACT-A gave birth to the Covax facility, designed to ensure poorer countries could access eventual vaccines, correctly predicting that richer nations would hog doses coming off the production lines.

Covax delivered its billionth vaccine dose in mid-January.

ACT-A needed $23.4 billion for its programme for the year October 2021-September 2022 but only $800 million has been raised so far.

The scheme, therefore, wants $16 billion upfront from wealthy nations “to close the immediate financing gap”, with the rest to be self-funded by middle-income countries.

– Omicron impetus –
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the rapid spread of the Omicron variant made it all the more urgent to ensure tests, treatments and vaccines are distributed equitably.

“If higher-income countries pay their fair share of the ACT-Accelerator costs, the partnership can support low- and middle-income countries to overcome low Covid-19 vaccination levels, weak testing, and medicine shortages,” he said in a statement.

“Science gave us the tools to fight Covid-19; if they are shared globally in solidarity, we can end Covid-19 as a global health emergency this year.”

Just 0.4 per cent of the 4.7 billion Covid tests administered globally during the pandemic have been used in low-income countries.

Meanwhile, only 10 per cent of people in those nations have received at least one vaccine dose.

The WHO said the vast inequity was not only costing lives and hurting economies, it was also risking the emergence of new, more dangerous variants that could rob current tools of their effectiveness and set even highly-vaccinated populations back by many months.

– Ramaphosa call –
ACT-A has come up with a new “fair share” financing model on how much each of the world’s wealthy countries should contribute, based on the size of their national economy and what they would gain from a faster recovery of the global economy and trade.

On the 2020-21 ACT-A budget, only six countries — Canada, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Sweden — met or exceeded what would have been their fair share commitments.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who co-chairs the ACT-A facilitation council, said inequitable access to Covid vaccines, tests and treatments was simply prolonging the pandemic.

“I urge my fellow leaders to step up in solidarity, meet their fair shares, and help reclaim our lives from this virus,” he said.

Ramaphosa and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, his fellow co-chair, have written to 55 capitals — all high-income countries, G20 upper middle-income nations, and two other middle-income states — outlining their “fair share” and encouraging them to cough up.

AFP

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2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park

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Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

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MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member

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Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

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